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Breaking up…

I have come to realise that simply liking a therapist is not a good enough reason for my son to continue his therapy with them.  Seems obvious, right…?  Maybe it is, however choosing a therapist is very difficult.  After researching therapists who live somewhere in the vicinity, and whom also specialise in the skills your child requires (which is a task in itself), your child may not respond well to certain personalities, and if they don’t like the therapist, not matter how “good” they are, therapy is not going to progress well. 

Recently I decided to reassess all of Harry’s therapies and therapists in light of the fact that he will be starting kindergarten next year (and the fact that we currently spend in excess of $600 a fortnight on therapies).  Currently, Harry attends physio, occupational therapy, swimming, horse-riding, and speech therapy (some of which are attended multiple times in a week).  Kindergarten will mean fewer days are available for therapy, and hopefully some components of therapy will be provided throughout the day whilst at kindergarten (he will be attending a mix of normal and special kindergarten).  

Unfortunately, terminating a child-therapist relationship, feels like a breakup.  I feel like I am dumping them…  Maybe I feel bad because in the back of my mind I feel that we have not seen strong results and good progress, and we are not merely “taking a break” as I have implied to them, but maybe I am in actual fact firing (dumping) them due to incompetence…?? 

It is difficult to be patient with therapists – you visit them so regularly and watch them “play” with your child, and then charge an exorbitant fee.  Progress is very slow with a special needs child, and often you feel like you are getting nowhere.  Is it better to seek out a new therapist and “change things up” or are we just a few more “therapist-child play dates” away from the next big breakthrough…? 

Unfortunately I am not an overly patient person.  I think it is time to shake things up with some new therapies, out with the old, in with the new!  Harry starts hydrotherapy next week… wish us luck!

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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Anti-Vax…?

I know I am entering dangerous waters just by mentioning this topic.  However my intention is not to rant on about my personal opinion, it is simply to pose a question:

If a person chooses not to vaccinate their child, and that child is then infected with a disease which would have been prevented or mitigated by the vaccine – does that parent allow the child to be treated by a doctor using modern biomedical treatments/drugs?”

The reason I ask, is because to me, this would seem a little hypocritical.  There are specific requirements to get a drug approved – I don’t personally know every aspect of the process and I am not claiming to be an expert, but it is not a quick or easy process, and there are a wealth of evidence-based research, studies and trials conducted before it is offered to the public.  More information can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/resdev/test-approve.htm.

Obviously there are reasons behind people’s choice not to vaccinate – a study of more than 11,000 parents conducted in 2009 showed that approximately 40% of parents (involved in the study) delayed or refused vaccines for their children.  The main reasons for this were that they either did not believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health of their children, or they believed the vaccine was harmful to their child.  The study can be viewed here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113438/.

I don’t personally want to get into the argument of whether vaccines contain harmful ingredients, or whether they do or do not have links to autism, or any to other condition or disease.  The issue I have is this: drugs (as opposed to vaccines) can also contain harmful ingredients; so, when a child is experiencing ill health and is in a life threatening position due to a disease with a known vaccine, does a person who has refused their child the “protection” from this exact illness then allow life saving drugs to be administered to their child?  Surely this is hypocritical?  I would love to know (honestly), whether people who decide against vaccines because they believe they are harmful to their children, conduct extensive research before allowing other drugs to be administered to their children during times of illness.

Vaccines don’t necessarily prevent a person from catching  a disease, they teach our body to be able to defend itself against it should we be exposed to the disease during our lifetime – so there are many arguments to be had about the effectiveness of the vaccine and/or the potential severity of the illness had the child had in fact been vaccinated.  My post is not really about that side of things – it is simply a moral question.

If you refuse to vaccinate your child, doesn’t that mean you believe your child should be denied  all medical treatment…?  Or is it a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it too…?

As a footnote – I would like to add that I do realise that people may argue that “other drugs” have not been linked to autism and so it is not a fair argument.  However, just because they haven’t yet, doesn’t mean the won’t be in the future.  Further, and more importantly, the only strong evidence supporting the autism link (by Dr Andrew Wakefield) has been discredited (he was also charged with a number of crimes committed against children during his research) – not by people “saying” it wasn’t true – but by scientists trying to repeat his study (for those not in the know – this is one of the main measures used in science – an experiment must be repeatable).

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“Mummy, what’s wrong with him?”

Something I have been worried about for a while is whether Harry will be teased at school, and will he make friends and generally enjoy his childhood.  I have brought this up with parents of older kids with special needs and have received differing responses.  Some say that young kids are very caring and loving, little girls especially, and often will take a child with special needs under their wing and become quite protective of them.  Other parents have said that their special needs child was teased on a daily basis, and that kids can be horrid to each other.

A couple of weeks ago, my fears were somewhat realised, and then put to rest.  A five year old boy was playing with Harry while I was chatting to his mum.  Within a few minutes, the little boy started saying “Mummy, what’s wrong with him?  What’s wrong with him, why can’t he talk? What’s wrong with him??”.  I felt like someone had slapped me.  I was dumbfounded, upset, had absolutely no idea what to say, and was struggling to keep my composure.  The boy’s mother was wonderful, and simply said “it’s okay, he’s still learning to talk”, and with that the little boy seemed to understand two things – first, that his assumption that Harry was unable to speak was correct, and second, that it was no big deal.  The two boys played together, and for the next half hour there was non-stop giggling from both of them, Harry in particular.

Such a simple response hadn’t occurred to me.  I felt like all of my worst fears for Harry’s school years had been proven to be real – other kids would notice he was different, and they would be very verbal about it.  However, at the same time I saw that there was a good chance that Harry will make friends and have fun, and not be teased or ridiculed.

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One piece of advice I have been given by the mother of a teenage boy with cerebral palsy: if you can, try to join local groups with similar aged kids who are likely to attend the same school.  This way by the time the child with difficulties gets to school, they already have friendships formed.  I haven’t yet managed to infiltrate any groups such as this, but I know they exist and when I find the time, I will be contacting them.  In the meantime I will continue to heed the advice of those more experienced than myself, and urge people to post any thoughts or advice they have that might be of value to myself or others.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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